Ship Recycling Convention
Recycling of ships
IMO is currently developing a Convention providing globally applicable ship recycling regulations for international shipping and for recycling activities. An ad hoc diplomatic conference is to take place in Hong Kong, China, from 11 to 15 May 2009, to consider for adoption the new international convention for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships.
The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) approved the text of the draft ship recycling convention for adoption at a conference in 2009, when it met for its 58th session in July 2008.
The MEPC conducted an article-by-article and regulation-by-regulation review of the draft new convention providing globally applicable regulations for ship recycling and for recycling activities. The text will now be circulated for consideration and adoption by a diplomatic conference to be held in Hong Kong, China, from 11 to 15 May 2009.
The new convention will provide regulations for the design, construction, operation and preparation of ships so as to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships; the operation of ship recycling facilities in a safe and environmentally sound manner; and the establishment of an appropriate enforcement mechanism for ship recycling, incorporating certification and reporting requirements.
Ships to be sent for recycling will be required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials, specific to each ship, while an appendix to the convention will provide a list of hazardous materials whose installation or use in ships is prohibited or restricted in shipyards, ship repair yards, and ships of parties to the future convention. Ships will have to have an initial survey to verify the inventory of hazardous materials, surveys during the life of the ship, and a final survey prior to recycling.
Ship recycling yards will be required to provide a "Ship Recycling Plan", to specify the manner in which each ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its inventory. Parties will be required to take effective measures to ensure that ship recycling facilities under their jurisdiction comply with the convention.
A series of guidelines are being developed to assist in the implementation of the new convention while the entry into force criteria for the convention (number of States required and percentage of gross merchant shipping tonnage) will be decided by the 2009 conference when formally adopting the proposed convention.
IMO adopted Guidelines on Ship Recycling at the 23rd Assembly in November-December 2003.
The guidelines are recommendatory.
However, at its 53rd session in July 2005, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) agreed that the IMO should develop, as a high priority, a new instrument on recycling of ships with a view to providing legally binding and globally applicable ship recycling regulations for international shipping and for recycling facilities. MEPC 53 also agreed that the new IMO instrument on ship recycling should include regulations for the design, construction, operation and preparation of ships so as to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships; the operation of ship recycling facilities in a safe and environmentally sound manner; and the establishment of an appropriate enforcement mechanism for ship recycling (certification/reporting requirements). MEPC 53 further agreed that the above-mentioned instrument should be completed in time for its consideration and adoption in the biennium 2008-2009.
The IMO Assembly in November-December 2005 subsequently agreed that IMO should develop a new legally-binding instrument on ship recycling. The Assembly resolution A.981(24) New legally-binding instrument on Ship Recycling requests the Marine Environment Protection Committee to develop a new instrument that would provide regulations for:
|-||the design, construction, operation and preparation of ships so as to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships;|
|-||the operation of ship recycling facilities in a safe and environmentally sound manner; and|
|-||the establishment of an appropriate enforcement mechanism for ship recycling, incorporating certification and reporting requirements.|
The aim is to complete the instrument in time for its consideration and adoption in the 2008-2009 biennium. The resolution refers to the urgent need for IMO to contribute to the development of an effective solution to the issue of ship recycling, which will minimize, in the most effective, efficient and sustainable way, the environmental, occupational health and safety risks related to ship recycling, taking into account the particular characteristics of world maritime transport and the need for securing the smooth withdrawal of ships that have reached the end of their operating lives.
The Assembly also adopted amendments to the existing Guidelines on Ship Recycling, relating to the inventory of potentially hazardous materials present in a ship＇s structure and equipment and the Green Passport for ships.
MEPC 55 outcome
At the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) at its 55th session in October 2006, the MEPC Working Group on Ship Recycling further developed the text of the draft Convention providing globally applicable ship recycling regulations for international shipping and for recycling activities and it agreed to request the IMO Council, at its 98th session (in June 2007), to consider the allocation of a five-day international conference in the 2008-2009 biennium to adopt it.
It is intended that the Convention will provide regulations for:
|•||the design, construction, operation and preparation of ships so as to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships;|
|•||the operation of ship recycling facilities in a safe and environmentally sound manner; and|
|•||the establishment of an appropriate enforcement mechanism for ship recycling, incorporating certification and reporting requirements.|
A correspondence group was established to continue developing the draft convention and related guidelines and it was agreed to hold an intersessional meeting of the Ship Recycling Working Group, ahead of the next MEPC session scheduled for July 2007.
MEPC 54 outcome
At its 54th session from 20-24 March 2006, the MEPC made progress in developing the draft text of a mandatory instrument providing globally-applicable ship recycling regulations for international shipping and for recycling activities. A Working Group on Ship Recycling met during the session to work on the draft text and discuss related issues. The proposed instrument would include articles and an annex with regulations for safe and environmentally-sound recycling of ships, covering requirements for ships, requirements for ship recycling facilities and reporting requirements.
A work plan for the further development of the draft legally-binding instrument was developed by the working group and agreed by the Committee. It would see the draft further developed during 2006-2007 with a view to completion in time for its consideration and adoption in the 2008-2009 biennium.
A correspondence group was established to carry out that task and to develop a provisional list of necessary guidelines. It will report to the next session of MEPC in October 2006.
The MEPC also considered the report of the second session of the Joint International Labour Organization (ILO)/IMO/Basel Convention Working Group on Ship Scrapping which met in December 2005 in Geneva. The views of the group were taken into account by the MEPC Working Group on Ship Recycling and it was noted that the Committee would continue co operating with ILO and the Basel Convention on this subject.
MEPC 53 outcome
In its initial consideration of issues related to the development of mandatory requirements on ship recycling, MEPC 53 considered the prohibition of the use of certain hazardous materials in the construction and equipment of ships; the design of ships and ships＇ equipment to facilitate recycling and removal of hazardous materials; the preparation, update and verification of inventories of potentially hazardous materials on board ships; the possible need for a survey and certification system, the development of a reporting system for ships destined for recycling; and the need for the recycling facilities to be approved/licenced or properly regulated in accordance with internationally developed and globally applied standards.
MEPC 53 also agreed that the development of a new legally-binding instrument on ship recycling should not shift the attention of the stakeholders involved away from the important work that is needed for the implementation of the IMO Guidelines on Ship Recycling.
MEPC 53 also approved amendments to the IMO Guidelines on Ship Recycling (Assembly resolution A.962(23)) which were subsequently adopted by Assembly resolution A.980(24) Amendments to the IMO Guidelines on Ship Recycling (Resolution A.962(23)).
The Committee also agreed an MEPC circular Implementation of the IMO Guidelines on Ship Recycling - "Gas-free-for-hot-work" certification which urges recycling States to introduce mandatory requirements on procedures to be followed regarding "gas-free-for-hot-work" certification in ship recycling operations and to ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place to monitor and enforce these requirements.
An MEPC circular on ship recycling was approved. It invites the ship recycling States to make publicly available information about the point of contact for the competent authorities responsible for issues related to ship recycling; and Governments and all involved stakeholders to provide information to the Organization on any experience gained in the implementation of the IMO Guidelines.
MEPC 53 endorsed the recommendations agreed by the Joint ILO/IMO/BC Working Group on Ship Scrapping, at its first meeting, regarding the work programme activities on ship recycling, the promotion of the implementation of the ship recycling guidelines and joint technical co-operation activities and nominated five Member States (Bangladesh, Japan, Netherlands, Norway and the United States) to represent the Organization in the second session of the Joint Working Group, which will be hosted by the Basel Convention in Geneva in December 2005.
Resolution A.962(23) IMO Guidelines on ship recycling give advice to all stakeholders in the recycling process, including administrations of ship building and maritime equipment supplying countries, flag, port and recycling States, as well as intergovernmental organizations and commercial bodies such as shipowners, ship builders, repairers and recycling yards.
The guidelines note that, in the process of recycling ships, virtually nothing goes to waste. The materials and equipment are almost entirely reused. Steel is reprocessed to become, for instance, reinforcing rods for use in the construction industry or as corner castings and hinges for containers. Ships＇ generators are reused ashore. Batteries find their way into the local economy. Hydrocarbons on board become reclaimed oil products to be used as fuel in rolling mills or brick kilns. Light fittings find further use on land. Furthermore, new steel production from recycled steel requires only one third of the energy used for steel production from raw materials. Recycling thus makes a positive contribution to the global conservation of energy and resources and, in the process, employs a large, if predominantly unskilled, workforce. Properly handled, ship recycling is, without question, a "green" industry.
However, the guidelines recognize that, although the principle of ship recycling may be sound, the working practices and environmental standards in the yards often leave much to be desired. While ultimate responsibility for conditions in the yards has to lie with the countries in which they are situated, other stakeholders must be encouraged to contribute towards minimising potential problems in the yards.
The concept of a "Green Passport" for ships is included in the guidelines. It is envisaged that this document, containing an inventory of all materials potentially hazardous to human health or the environment, used in the construction of a ship, would accompany the ship throughout its working life. Produced by the shipyard at the construction stage and passed to the purchaser of the vessel, the document would be in a format that would enable any subsequent changes in materials or equipment to be recorded. Successive owners of the ship would maintain the accuracy of the Green Passport and incorporate into it all relevant design and equipment changes, with the final owner delivering it, with the vessel, to the recycling yard.
In October 2004, the MEPC approved the Guidelines for the development of the ship recycling plan, which provide further technical information and guidance for the preparation of a suitable ship recycling plan (SRP), as recommended in section 8.3.2 of the IMO Guidelines on Ship Recycling.
IMO’s role in the recycling of ships, the terminology used to refer to ship scrapping, was first raised at the 44th MEPC session in March 2000 following which correspondence group was established to research this issue and provide a range of information about current ship recycling practices and suggestions on the role of IMO. The guidelines were developed by the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) and finalized at the MEPC 49th session in July 2003.
Ships sold for scrapping may contain environmentally hazardous substances such as asbestos, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, and ozone depleting substances and others. Concerns have been raised about the working and environmental conditions at many of the world＇s ship scrapping locations.
Source: International Maritime Organization